Demand for highway travel continues to grow as population increases, particularly in metropolitan areas. Construction of new highway capacity to accommodate this growth has not kept pace and congestion has continued to rise.
Increasing traffic congestion threatens economic growth, increases pollution and creates poor air quality. The Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) estimated in 2011 that roadway congestion in the U.S. caused 5.5 billion hours of extra time, wasted enough fuel to fill four New Orleans Superdomes, and released 56 billion pounds of additional carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to the liftoff weight of over 12,400 space shuttles with all fuel tanks full. This wasted cost in fuel, time and health affects the average commuter $818 compared to $324 in 1982, with adjusted inflation.
In Oklahoma City, which ranks 47th in total congestion cost by U.S. cities, each peak time auto commuter spends $1,044, uses 18 extra gallons of fuel, creates 356 pounds of excess CO2 and spends an extra 23 hours sitting in congestion per year.
In accordance with federal transportation regulation, ACOG staff has begun drafting the congestion management process, which serves as a systematic and regionally-accepted approach for managing congestion by assessing strategies that meet state and local needs. The CMP is considered a “living” document, continually evolving to address congestion related issues within Central Oklahoma. With collaboration from member local governments, staff has used the goals and objectives established in the Encompass 2035 long-range plan to identify mitigation measures for the region. The objectives-driven, performance-based approach to planning will ensure transportation investment decisions are made with a clear focus and desired outcomes from ACOG and member local governments.